What are your chances of acceptance?

Calculate for all schools, your chance of acceptance.

Duke University

Your chancing factors


ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay + Example

Do you know how to improve your profile for college applications.

See how your profile ranks among thousands of other students using CollegeVine. Calculate your chances at your dream schools and learn what areas you need to improve right now — it only takes 3 minutes and it's 100% free.

Show me what areas I need to improve

What’s Covered:

What is the ap lang synthesis essay, how will ap scores affect my college chances.

AP English Language and Composition, commonly known as AP Lang, is one of the most engaging and popular AP classes offered at most high schools, with over 535,000 students taking the class . AP Lang tests your ability to analyze written pieces, synthesize information, write rhetorical essays, and create cohesive and concrete arguments. However, the class is rather challenging as only 62% of students were able to score a three or higher on the exam. 

The AP Lang exam has two sections. The first consists of 45 multiple choice questions which need to be completed in an hour. This portion counts for around 45% of your total score. These questions ask students to analyze written pieces and answer questions related to each respective passage.  All possible answer choices can be found within the text, and no prior knowledge of literature is needed to understand the passages.

The second section contains three free-response questions to be finished in under two hours and 15 minutes. This section counts for 55% of your score and includes the synthesis essay, the rhetorical essay, and the argumentative essay.

  • The synthesis essay requires you to read 6-7 sources and create an argument using at least three sources.
  • The rhetorical analysis essay requires you to describe how a piece of writing evokes specific meanings and symbolism.
  • The argumentative essay requires you to pick a perspective of a debate and create an argument based on the evidence provided.

In this post, we will take a look at the AP Lang synthesis essay and discuss tips and tricks to master this part of the exam. We will also provide an example of a well-written essay for review.  

The AP Lang synthesis essay is the first of three essays included in the Free Response section of the AP Lang exam. The exam presents 6-7 sources that are organized around a specific topic, with two of those sources purely visual, including a single quantitative source (like a graph or pie chart). The remaining 4-5 sources are text-based, containing around 500 words each. It’s recommended that students spend an hour on this essay—15 minute reading period, 40 minutes writing, and 5 minutes of spare time to check over work.

Each synthesis essay has a topic that all the sources will relate to. A prompt will explaining the topic and provide some background, although the topics are usually broad so you will probably know something related to the issue. It will also present a claim that students will respond to in an essay format using information from at least three of the provided sources. You will need to take a stance, either agreeing or disagreeing with the position provided in the claim. 

According to the CollegeBoard, they are looking for essays that “combine different perspectives from sources to form a support of a coherent position.” This means that you must state your claim on the topic and highlight relationships between several sources that support your specific position on the topic. Additionally, you’ll need to cite clear evidence from your sources to prove your point.

The synthesis essay counts for six points on the AP Lang exam. Students can receive 0-1 points for writing a thesis statement, 0-4 based on the incorporation of evidence and commentary, and 0-1 points based on the sophistication of thought and demonstration of complex understanding.

While this essay seems extremely overwhelming, considering there are a total of three free-response essays to complete, with proper time management and practiced skills, this essay is manageable and straightforward. In order to enhance the time management aspect of the test to the best of your ability, it is essential to divide the essay up into five key steps.

Step 1: Analyze the Prompt

As soon as the clock starts, carefully read and analyze what the prompt asks from you. It might be helpful to markup the text to identify the most critical details. You should only spend around 2 minutes reading the prompt so you have enough time to read all the sources and figure out your argument. Don’t feel like you need to immediately pick your stance on the claim right after reading the prompt. You should read the sources before you commit to your argument.

Step 2: Read the Sources Carefully

Although you are only required to use 3 of the 6-7 sources provides, make sure you read ALL of the sources. This will allow you to better understand the topic and make the most educated decision of which sources to use in your essay. Since there are a lot of sources to get through, you will need to read quickly and carefully.

Annotating will be your best friend during the reading period. Highlight and mark important concepts or lines from each passage that would be helpful in your essay. Your argument will probably begin forming in your head as you go through the passages, so you will save yourself a lot of time later on if you take a few seconds to write down notes in the margins. After you’ve finished reading a source, reflect on whether the source defends, challenges, or qualifies your argument.

You will have around 13 minutes to read through all the sources, but it’s very possible you will finish earlier if you are a fast reader. Take the leftover time to start developing your thesis and organizing your thoughts into an outline so you have more time to write. 

Step 3: Write a Strong Thesis Statement 

In order to write a good thesis statement, all you have to do is decide your stance on the claim provided in the prompt and give an overview of your evidence. You essentially have three choices on how to frame your thesis statement: You can defend, challenge or qualify a claim that’s been provided by the prompt. 

  • If you are defending the claim, your job will be to prove that the claim is correct .
  • If you are challenging the claim, your job will be to prove that the claim is incorrect .
  • If you choose to qualify the claim, your job will be to agree to a part of the claim and disagree with another part of the claim. 

A strong thesis statement will clearly state your stance without summarizing the issue or regurgitating the claim. The CollegeBoard is looking for a thesis statement that “states a defensible position and establishes a line of reasoning on the issue provided in the prompt.”

Step 4: Create a Minimal Essay Outline

Developing an outline might seem like a waste of time when you are up against the clock, but believe us, taking 5-10 minutes to outline your essay will be much more useful in the long run than jumping right into the essay.

Your outline should include your thesis statement and three main pieces of evidence that will constitute each body paragraph. Under each piece of evidence should be 2-3 details from the sources that you will use to back up your claim and some commentary on how that evidence proves your thesis.

Step 5: Write your Essay

Use the remaining 30-35 minutes to write your essay. This should be relatively easy if you took the time to mark up the sources and have a detailed outline.  Remember to add special consideration and emphasis to the commentary sections of the supporting arguments outlined in your thesis. These sentences are critical to the overall flow of the essay and where you will be explaining how the evidence supports or undermines the claim in the prompt.

Also, when referencing your sources, write the in-text citations as follows: “Source 1,” “Source 2,” “Source 3,” etc. Make sure to pay attention to which source is which in order to not incorrectly cite your sources. In-text citations will impact your score on the essay and are an integral part of the process.

After you finish writing, read through your essay for any grammatical errors or mistakes before you move onto the next essay.

Here are six must-have tips and tricks to get a good score on the synthesis essay:

  • Cite at least four sources , even though the minimum requirement is three. Remember not to plagiarize and cite everything you use in your arguments.
  • Make sure to develop a solid and clear thesis . Develop a stable stance for the claim and stick with it throughout the entire paper.
  • Don’t summarize the sources. The summary of the sources does not count as an argument. 
  • You don’t necessarily have to agree with the sources in order to cite them. Using a source to support a counterargument is still a good use of a source.
  • Cite the sources that you understand entirely . If you don’t, it could come back to bite you in the end. 
  • Use small quotes , do not quote entire paragraphs. Make sure the quote does not disrupt the flow or grammar of the sentence you write. 

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

Here is an example prompt and essay from 2019 that received 5 of the 6 total points available:

In response to our society’s increasing demand for energy, large-scale wind power has drawn attention from governments and consumers as a potential alternative to traditional materials that fuel our power grids, such as coal, oil, natural gas, water, or even newer sources such as nuclear or solar power. Yet the establishment of large-scale, commercial-grade wind farms is often the subject of controversy for a variety of reasons.

Carefully read the six sources, found on the AP English Language and Composition 2019 Exam (Question 1), including the introductory information for each source. Write an essay that synthesizes material from at least three of the sources and develops your position on the most important factors that an individual or agency should consider when deciding whether to establish a wind farm.

Source A (photo)

Source B (Layton)

Source C (Seltenrich)

Source D (Brown)

Source E (Rule)

Source F (Molla)

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis presents a defensible position.
  • Select and use evidence from at least 3 of the provided sources to support your line of reasoning. Indicate clearly the sources used through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. Sources may be cited as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the description in parentheses.
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

[1] The situation has been known for years, and still very little is being done: alternative power is the only way to reliably power the changing world. The draw of power coming from industry and private life is overwhelming current sources of non-renewable power, and with dwindling supplies of fossil fuels, it is merely a matter of time before coal and gas fuel plants are no longer in operation. So one viable alternative is wind power. But as with all things, there are pros and cons. The main factors for power companies to consider when building wind farms are environmental boon, aesthetic, and economic factors.

[2] The environmental benefits of using wind power are well-known and proven. Wind power is, as qualified by Source B, undeniably clean and renewable. From their production requiring very little in the way of dangerous materials to their lack of fuel, besides that which occurs naturally, wind power is by far one of the least environmentally impactful sources of power available. In addition, wind power by way of gearbox and advanced blade materials, has the highest percentage of energy retention. According to Source F, wind power retains 1,164% of the energy put into the system – meaning that it increases the energy converted from fuel (wind) to electricity 10 times! No other method of electricity production is even half that efficient. The efficiency and clean nature of wind power are important to consider, especially because they contribute back to power companies economically.

[3] Economically, wind power is both a boon and a bone to electric companies and other users. For consumers, wind power is very cheap, leading to lower bills than from any other source. Consumers also get an indirect reimbursement by way of taxes (Source D). In one Texan town, McCamey, tax revenue increased 30% from a wind farm being erected in the town. This helps to finance improvements to the town. But, there is no doubt that wind power is also hurting the power companies. Although, as renewable power goes, wind is incredibly cheap, it is still significantly more expensive than fossil fuels. So, while it is helping to cut down on emissions, it costs electric companies more than traditional fossil fuel plants. While the general economic trend is positive, there are some setbacks which must be overcome before wind power can take over as truly more effective than fossil fuels.

[4] Aesthetics may be the greatest setback for power companies. Although there may be significant economic and environmental benefit to wind power, people will always fight to preserve pure, unspoiled land. Unfortunately, not much can be done to improve the visual aesthetics of the turbines. White paint is the most common choice because it “[is] associated with cleanliness.” (Source E). But, this can make it stand out like a sore thumb, and make the gargantuan machines seem more out of place. The site can also not be altered because it affects generating capacity. Sound is almost worse of a concern because it interrupts personal productivity by interrupting people’s sleep patterns. One thing for power companies to consider is working with turbine manufacturing to make the machines less aesthetically impactful, so as to garner greater public support.

[5] As with most things, wind power has no easy answer. It is the responsibility of the companies building them to weigh the benefits and the consequences. But, by balancing economics, efficiency, and aesthetics, power companies can create a solution which balances human impact with environmental preservation.

More examples can be found here at College Board.

While AP Scores help to boost your weighted GPA, or give you the option to get college credit, AP Scores don’t have a strong effect on your admissions chances . However, colleges can still see your self-reported scores, so you might not want to automatically send scores to colleges if they are lower than a 3. That being said, admissions officers care far more about your grade in an AP class than your score on the exam.

Related CollegeVine Blog Posts

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

How to Write a Synthesis Essay AP Lang | Guide to Getting a Perfect Score

The AP Language and Composition exam is notoriously difficult. Even top, A+ language arts students have found it exceptionally challenging. 

the ap language and composition exam is notoriously difficult

Beyond diligently studying with a  top-rated AP Lang review book , you should also carefully review our comprehensive guide on how to write a synthesis essay for AP Lang featured in this article.

Once you complete the supremely humbling hour-long multiple-choice section, making up only 45% of your score, the trial has only just begun. Now, already fatigued from the first section, you must begin the grueling, two-hour free response section of the exam, which accounts for a whopping 55% of your final exam score. This section requires you to compose three essays of distinct types: an argumentative essay, a rhetorical analysis essay ( you also need to learn how to use AP Lang rhetorical devices ) and, the most dreaded of all, the synthesis essay.

Luckily, there are some great options to help you prepare to nail your synthesis essay. So, read on for everything you need to know to knock your synthesis essay out of the park!

How to Write Synthesis Essays AP Lang

One of the most challenging aspects of the AP synthesis essay is figuring out what the prompt is asking you to do. After all, what does it mean to “synthesize” something anyway? And what’s the difference between a synthesis essay and an evidence-based argumentative essay?

In this guide, we’ll answer these questions and a lot more. We’ll help you establish a solid understanding of what synthesis is, how to do it, and how to use it to write a high-scoring essay, according to College Board’s AP Language and Composition scoring guidelines . Lastly, we’ll leave you with some advice about things to be sure and attend to in your essay, as well as the most important things to avoid. 

Introduction to Syntheses

Before we get into all the details and advice on how to write a quality synthesis essay, we first need to answer a critical question: what is a synthesis essay?

Simply put, a synthesis essay is a piece of writing that brings together information and ideas from two or more sources. 

The synthesis part comes in as you begin to develop connections between the sources

The synthesis part comes in as you begin to develop connections between the sources, whether they are in agreement, disagreement, approach the same topic from different angles, or simply provide ideas on different topics that can in some way contribute some other discourse.

This, of course, is just a very basic introduction to what a synthesis essay is.

Throughout this article, the concept will surely become clearer to you.

Two Types of Syntheses

There are essentially two types of synthesis essay that you will run into: argumentative syntheses and explanatory syntheses. Luckily, you really only need to master one of them, the argumentative synthesis, as this is the most common expectation on AP exams.

Explanatory Synthesis

An explanatory synthesis essay is exactly what it sounds like. It the type of writing in which you will be asked to explain the arguments and information presented in your sources. You should also seek out connections and contrasting elements between the sources in order to give your essay a certain level of nuance and to display your deeper understanding and reasoning skills. 

Most of the time, AP Language and Composition exams won’t focus on explanatory synthesis essays. However, it would be wise to use some explanatory techniques even within your argumentative synthesis essay.

Argumentative Synthesis

When someone asks, “what is a synthesis in writing?” they’re typically referring to argumentative synthesis, and this is especially the case for the AP exam. 

At its most basic, an argumentative synthesis essay is on in which you must present your own opinions and support them with appropriate ideas and information from your sources. Most importantly, the thesis for your argumentative synthesis essay must be a proposition that can be debated. That is, there must be another potential argument against your own. 

Standards for Synthesis Essays

unfortunately, these prompt-specific rubrics are not available to the public until after the exams

The people who will be scoring your AP Lang synthesis essay use a very clearly defined rubric to determine your score according to various criteria. Unfortunately, these prompt-specific rubrics are not available to the public until after the exams.

That said, we can still gain a wealth of useful information from past scoring guidelines.

Here are some of the elements of high-scoring essays that seem to be fairly constant from exam to exam, regardless of the essay prompt topic:

Supply useful context on the topic

Give a sense of why the topic is important

Engage with the complexity of the subject

Foreground your opinion on the topic

Offer thorough and thoughtful analysis of quotations, paraphrases, etc.

Synthesize source material by finding connections with your own ideas and opinions

Properly attributes ideas to sources

Conclude with more than just a summary by answering the “so what?” question

Techniques for Developing Synthesis Essays

Before you can start writing a quality synthesis essay, you need to spend some time developing your ideas and seeing how they do or do not relate to your source materials.

The following is a list of steps that you should always take before you start writing the bulk of your actual essay. These guidelines will be enormously helpful when it comes time to figure out what you want to say in your essay. If you read this carefully and take seriously these suggestions, you’ll have no trouble coming up with interesting and complex ideas for your essay.

What’s your purpose? Before you do anything, you need to determine what the prompt is asking you to do. Obviously, it’s going to ask you to synthesize some stuff, but keep an eye out for these helpful guide words:


Read the source material; then, read it again to annotate. Once you’ve read through the sources once, go back and reach each one again, this time with a pencil to underline and add notes as you go.

Formulate your thesis statement. After reading and taking notes on your sources, you’re ready to brainstorm your thesis statement. As you do this, try to keep track of potential aspects of each source that you can use to support your claim. 

Sketch an outline. When you have a thesis statement down (at least a tentative one—you should always be open to revising it as you go), you should sketch a simple outline that includes your thesis statement, supporting points that you can use for topic sentences, and a rough idea of how you will incorporate your sources. 

If you follow these steps closely, there’s no doubt that you’ll be ready to start writing what is sure to be a clever, thoughtful, and nuanced synthesis essay.

How to Write a Good Synthesis Essay?

as you go about the work of composing your essay, there are several approaches and strategies to can implement at different points in the essay

Now that we know what a synthesis essay is, what AP exam scorers will be looking for in your essay, and what techniques you can use to develop your essay topic, it’s time to look at some different strategies for how to actually write a synthesis essay in AP Lang.

As you go about the work of composing your essay, there are several approaches and strategies to can implement at different points in the essay.

None of these elements will be particularly effective in isolation, so be sure to use a variety of these strategies to enhance the complexity and depth of your argument.

Summarize. Summarizing ideas and source material is easy, and for that reason it is not going to do a whole lot in the way of getting you a great score. It is, however, an incredibly useful tool that, when used in conjunction with other strategies on this list, can be quite effective.

Compare and Contrast. This is typically the level of synthesis that most people start at after summarizing the content they are considering. It’s not exactly “high-order” analysis, but it can be very useful in establishing the positions of your sources and creating a foundation on which you can present your own ideas and opinions.

Give an Example. A great way to show you understand a certain concept is to apply your understanding through an example. You can think of examples that illustrate the concepts you’re dealing with as a way to clarify your topic and also to support your own arguments. 

“They Say, I Say.” This is the classic, and possibly most effective, synthesis move. After you’ve presented a quotation or paraphrase of one or more sources’ ideas, move on to explain your own position as it relates to theirs. It becomes much easier to state your own ideas and opinions when you do it within the context of the larger discussion of the topic.

Synthesis Essay Structure

One of the most sure-fire ways to earn a passing score on your synthesis essay is to ensure you structure it effectively. To do this well, it’s a smart idea, prior to writing your essay, to sketch out a quick outline of the essay’s structure. Your outline doesn’t need to be especially detailed, but it will be tremendously helpful for you to have a general plan to work from.

Another good idea that will help you learn how to structure your essay is by looking at a synthesis example.

Helpfully, the College Board’s AP Language and Composition exam site supplies several samp le essays for you to get an idea of what good, average, and poor synthesis essays look like.

if you take some time to read these examples, you’ll have a much better vision of what the scorers are looking for in terms of a well-structured synthesis essay

If you take some time to read these examples, you’ll have a much better vision of what the scorers are looking for in terms of a well-structured synthesis essay.

That said, there is a very basic structure for synthesis essays that, if followed carefully, will guarantee that your essay is, at the very least, structured logically. This format is essentially the standard format for any basic five-paragraph essay. Take a look.

Basic Essay Structure

Introduction Paragraph

Give some BACKGROUND information and CONTEXT on the general topic of your essay.

Briefly introduce the SOURCES that you will be using.

Present your THESIS STATEMENT (this is usually the very last sentence of the paragraph).

Body Paragraph

Start with a TOPIC SENTENCE that supports your thesis statement.

Cite one or more SOURCES that support your topic sentence.

Provide COMMENTARY and ANALYSIS on the ideas you have just cited from your sources. 

Use a TRANSITION WORD or PHRASE to guide the reader logically toward the ideas you will present in the topic sentence of the next paragraph.

Body Paragraphs 2-?

Repeat the steps in the previous section with different topic sentences and source references, all of which must support your thesis statement. 

Include as many body paragraphs as you have points and topic sentences to justify. Typically, a good AP Lang synthesis essay will have around 3-4 well-constructed and reasoned body paragraphs, but this is just a general guideline.

Conclusion Paragraph

Restate your THESIS statement in a new and interesting way (that is, do not simply repeat your thesis word-for-word as it appears in the introduction!).

Tie it all together by briefly summarizing your main points.

Answer the “SO WHAT?” QUESTION by explaining why your argument matters and what the implications of it might be. Try to broaden your scope in order to show the reader how it fits in with the “big picture.”

Synthesis Writing Dos and Don’ts

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

Finally, we want to leave you with a quick list of things to strive for and things to avoid at all costs. 

DO Develop a Strong, Clear Thesis Statement

DO Use Topic Sentences 

DO Cite Your Sources Accurately and Appropriately

DO Sketch a Basic Outline 

DO Pace Yourself

DO Proofread and Revise Your Essay Carefully

DON’T Overdo It with Summaries

DON’T Start Paragraphs with Quotations

DON’T Get Overwhelmed by the Sources

DON’T Use Other People’s Ideas without Citing Your Sources

DON’T Use Overly Lengthy Quotations or Paraphrases

Leonard Haggin

I created this site to help students like you learn from the experiences my team had learned during our extensive academic careers. I am now studying Law at Stanford, but I also make time to write articles here in order to help all you fellow students advance in your academic careers and beyond. I hope our efforts on Study Prep Lounge will arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome whatever trial or test you find in front of you.

Leave a Reply:

Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.

Automated page speed optimizations for fast site performance

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

AP Lang test is the logical conclusion to the introductory college English composition course. And its most important (and often difficult) part is the AP Lang synthesis essay. Despite it being the very basic layer of your future composition skills, it’s a very complicated challenge to approach unprepared. Besides, it's details may change year to year. So let’s have a look with our coursework writing services team at what your AP Lang exam 2022 might look like.

What is AP Lang?

AP Lang is a relatively lengthy test. There are several AP rubrics that a student must be well-versed in to hope to pass it. The first section includes reading and writing, while the second is slightly more freeform and includes three different types of essays.

Among those three, the most interesting and, coincidentally, oftentimes the hardest to deal with is the AP Lang synthesis essay rubric. Today will focus on it specifically to make sure you know exactly what you’re going to be facing during your test.

What Is a Synthesis Essay AP Lang?

At its core, the AP Lang synthesis essay is a pretty straightforward part of the AP Lang test. It might look pretty similar to the reading section of the exam. However, simply finding the right information isn’t enough. When writing a synthesis essay, you should not only gather the data but also distill it into your personal opinion.

This fine line may seem difficult to spot, but it is there. And it’s that small difference that can make or break your exam run. So try to follow the steps one by one and not lose focus. Writing a good synthesis essay is as easy as following the rules. If you feel this task is too difficult for you, you can leave us your ' write an essay for me ' request and we will do it for you.

AP Lang Synthesis Essay Outline

Looking through AP Lang essay examples, you might notice that the overall structure doesn’t really differ too much from your standard essay outline. You have your introduction, your body, and your conclusion. But the important thing to note is where your arguments are supposed to come from.

You’re not supposed to just go off on a rant. The task requires you to base your supporting evidence on at least three sources. And you will have to ensure your essay has solid roots. Here’s what a basic AP Lang exam synthesis essay outline should look like:

  • Introduction

Provide sufficient context for the topic you are about to cover. You can do a quick overview of prevailing opinions you have grasped while browsing through your source materials.

Write a short and compelling thesis statement. This will be your ground zero for the rest of the essay. So make sure it reflects your opinion. What is a thesis statement you can read in our special article.

  • Body Paragraphs

Dedicate at least one paragraph to every source you’re using. Start with presenting the evidence you have gathered from that source and go on to explain how it formed your opinion on the topic and why it should be considered.

Quickly go through your line of reasoning and reinforce what you have already covered. Finish up with restating your thesis as you’re supposed to logically arrive at it after all the evidence you have presented. That’s how you write a conclusion properly.

Different Forms and Types of Synthesis Essay: Explanatory vs. Argumentative Synthesis Essays

When it comes to writing a synthesis essay AP Lang, there are several types of essays you should consider. The most common ones are the AP Lang argument essay and explanatory essay. The clues as to how each of them should look are hidden within their names but let’s go over them to clear any confusion.

An explanatory essay’s goal is to go over a certain topic, discuss it in detail, and ultimately show a high level of understanding of the said topic. You don’t necessarily have to get into a heated argument with the reader trying to convince them of something. All you need to do is create an impartial overview.

On the other hand, an argumentative essay has to do with personal opinions. And while there is a time and a place for bias, it still has to be as impartial and factual as possible. When proving your point, try not to devolve into emotional arguments but stick to logic and cold truths. This will make your argument way more solid.

Synthesis Essay Structure

In the general case, you don’t really need to look for a synthesis essay AP Lang example to get a solid grasp on how its structure should look like. You can safely fall back on your high school essay writing knowledge, and you’ll be mostly safe.

What you should pay attention to is your writing style and content. A synthesis essay is identified less by its structure and more by the way you form and present your arguments to the reader. It’s when you get a specific essay type (like an argumentative essay) that you should pay attention to slight changes in format.

Argument Essay Structure

The best way to understand argumentative essay structure is to study any well-written AP Lang argument essay example. Standard AP Lang essays have very distinctive features that are very easy to spot and emulate. They follow a very rigid form and employ specific rhetorical devices that you’ll be able to pick up after you analyze them once or twice quickly.

How Many Paragraphs Should an AP Lang Synthesis Essay Be?

The number of paragraphs in an AP Lang synthesis essay can indeed make a difference. Your arguments should be concise and pointed. Spreading them out throughout many paragraphs may seem like a good idea to fill in the space. But it’s actually detrimental to your final score. You can get a basic understanding of what your score is going to be using an AP Lang score calculator.

The same goes for too few paragraphs. Don’t even try to squeeze your entire line of thought into a single body paragraph. Generally, the minimum number of sources you should address is three. Any less, and you are getting a lower score. So try to keep it somewhere in the middle. Three to five body paragraphs is an optimal number. Don’t forget to add an intro and a conclusion to it and you’re all set. A well-written essay has a clear and easily identifiable structure.

How to Write AP Lang Synthesis Essay: Guide

How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay

In order to write a decent essay, all you have to do is follow these simple steps. Performing a rhetorical analysis essay example, AP Lang won’t give you insight into how it was built from the ground up. But looking at this list might.

Step 1. Read the Prompt

It may sound like a no-brainer. But it’s actually more important than you can imagine. Don’t skip right past this step. It’s very easy to misunderstand the task under stress. And if you do slip up in the beginning - the entirety of your work after that is wasted.

Step 2. Analyze the Sources Carefully

The same goes for your sources. Take your time reading them. Try to spot every smallest detail, as even a single one can help you better incorporate your evidence into the body of your essay. You can begin outlining the general points of your essay in your head at this point.

Step 3. Come Up with a Strong Thesis Statement

Your thesis statement is the baseline of your writing. Make it short and clear. Try not to overthink it too much.

Step 4. Fill in Your Essay Outline

Start filling out your outline step by step. You don’t have to go from top to bottom. If you feel like you’re struggling - skip to the next part and return to the problem paragraph later. The use of rhetorical devices AP Lang is also pretty important. So once you flesh out your essay a bit, spend some time trying to come up with the perfect wording.

Step 5. Finalize

The first finished version of your essay is a draft. Don’t be hasty to turn it in. Read over it a couple of times. Make sure everything is in order. You can switch some of the parts around or rewrite some sections if you have the time. Ideally, at this stage you should have enough time to eliminate all grammatical errors that may still be present in your essay. Polish it to perfection.

Useful Tips

Here are some useful tips that might make the writing process a bit easier for you:

  • Use either APA or Chicago style to cite your sources
  • Have a schedule to understand how much time you have for each section
  • Leave as much time as you can for editing and proofreading
  • You can never over study the source material. Spend as much time as you can reading into it
  • Don’t linger on the surface of your essay subject. Dive in and show your complex understanding of the material
  • Avoid using private life anecdotes to support your case unless the essay type specifically allows it. These don’t make for a convincing argument.
  • Use as many supporting arguments as you can but make sure they are actually solid and relevant to your thesis
  • Check with your thesis from time to time. The entirety of your text should align with it

Need help with academic deadlines?

Falling back on your deadlines? Use our term paper writing services to relieve you while you get back on your feet.

AP Lang Essay Prompts

Here are some interesting prompts. Some of them could be found in the previous iterations of the test; you may have spotted them in some of the AP Lang essay examples. Others are there to help you practice for the AP Lang exam 2022.

  • The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, dedicated in 1979, was founded in memory of the president and contained archives pertaining to his administration. On June 24, 1985, then President Ronald Reagan joined members of the Kennedy family at a fundraising event to help the Kennedy Library Foundation create an endowment to fund and support the presidential library. The following is an excerpt from the speech Reagan gave at that event. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Reagan makes to achieve his purpose of paying tribute to John F. Kennedy.
  • On August 29, 2009, then-President Barack Obama delivered a eulogy at the funeral of Senator Ted Kennedy in Boston, Massachusetts. Kennedy served in the United States Senate from 1962 until his death. Obama served with him in the Senate from 2005 until Obama was elected president in 2008. The following is an excerpt from Obama’s speech. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Obama makes to achieve his purpose of praising and memorializing Kennedy.
  • On April 9, 1964, Claudia “Lady Bird” Johnson, who was at the time the First Lady of the United States, gave the following speech at the first-anniversary luncheon of the Eleanor Roosevelt Memorial Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit division of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library dedicated to the works of former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who passed away in 1962. Read the passage carefully. Write an essay that analyzes the rhetorical choices Johnson makes to achieve her purpose of paying tribute to Eleanor Roosevelt.

In your response, you should do the following:

• Respond to the prompt with a thesis that analyzes the writer’s rhetorical choices.

• Select and use evidence to support your line of reasoning.

• Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.

• Demonstrate an understanding of the rhetorical situation.

• Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

AP Lang Essay Example

Here is a decent if a bit shortened, AP Lang rhetorical analysis essay example you can use for reference.

Literature to Prepare for AP Lang

How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay

And here is a list of some great AP Lang books that will help you prepare for the exam. Not all of them are immediately useful, but most will help you enhance your writing and analytical abilities to get a better score in the end.

  • The Odyssey
  • Don Quixote
  • A Midsummer Night's Dream
  • Pride and Prejudice
  • Wuthering Heights
  • Oliver Twist
  • Crime and Punishment
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

If you have thoughts of "who could do my paper for me," do not forget that you can contact us. Or, if you have a finished paper and you need to make edits to it, leave us a ' rewrite my essay ' request and we will do it as soon as possible.

Related Articles

Types of Narrative Writing


AP® English Language

How to ace the ap® english language and composition synthesis essay.

  • The Albert Team
  • Last Updated On: March 1, 2022

how_to_ace_the_ap_english english language synthesis essay

The newest section of the AP® English Language and Composition Exam, the synthesis essay, is one of three essays you will be completing during the examination’s 2-hour free-response period. However, you’ll also have a 15-minute reading and planning period just for this essay, and if you use this time to plan effectively, you can’t go wrong.

Before we get into specific advice on how to handle the AP® English Language and Composition synthesis essay, you need to know what this part of the test really is. It is very similar to the argumentative essay you will also write as part of this exam, except that you are provided with a wealth of source material from which to draw some support for your ideas.

While this in some ways makes the AP® English Language and Composition synthesis essay easier than the argument essay (because you can use quotations, point to authoritative sources for support, etc.), there is an extra element of complexity, and the AP® readers want to see how well you can sort through your source material and put it to good use – which makes planning all that much more important. This brings us to our first tip…

1. Use Your 15-Minute Planning Period Wisely.

The main purpose of this 15-minute period is to give you time to read the source materials. This essay will present you with several sources providing different information about or opinions on a certain topic. Make sure you don’t just skim them, but read them closely – make notes, underline key sections you may want to quote later, etc.

You should also begin outlining your essay and considering your opinion on the subject; have this opinion in mind before you start writing the essay, as you will use it to construct your thesis.

You’ve already learned how to structure persuasive essays in this class and in other classes you have taken; put that knowledge to good use now, and have your main points set out before you start writing. Try to have a thesis statement written by the time you start the essay – your thesis should establish your opinion and the general reasons you feel this way; the rest of your essay will go on to justify and exemplify these reasons. Also write down some of the main points upon which you will base subsequent paragraphs and mark quotes or sections of the sources you can use in each of these paragraphs.

2. Evaluate Your Sources.

ap exams score

Every source you can use for the AP® Language and Composition synthesis essay will have a small box above it explaining where it comes from and who said it – to see exactly what this looks like, check out the free synthesis essay sample questions at AP® Central. There are also public sample questions available there for the rest of the AP® English and Composition Exam .

Keep all information about your sources in mind when you’re quoting them or using them to support your arguments. What journal an article appeared in can say a great deal about its potential biases. For example, consider a question on the environmental impacts of corporate practices – an environmental journal is obviously going to be biased in favor of more environmental regulation, while a report from a company spokesperson will probably gloss over some of the negative impacts of his company. Think critically.

3. Keep Your Tone Consistent.

There is no hard-and-fast advice about what tone you should take – some students try to inject a little humor into their essays while others prefer to be as serious as possible, some are extremely critical and others more accepting. However, the one thing you really have to do while writing the AP® Language and Composition synthesis essay (or any other essay) is keep your tone consistent. Jot some tone-related ideas down as you outline during the 15-minute reading period, and keep in mind everything you’ve learned about tone and other aspects of rhetoric so far this year.

4. Use Rhetorical Technique to Your Advantage!

The various rhetorical practices you’ve been learning about all year can be put to good use here. This class and this test aren’t just about recognizing and analyzing these techniques when others use them, but about preparing you for college and your career by teaching you how to use them effectively yourself. However, this isn’t just about writing a beautiful essay, so read on to Tip # 5!

5. Your Argument Must be Well-Crafted.

The AP® English Language and Composition Exam synthesis essay does not have right or wrong answers; rather, it asks you for your opinion. The AP® Examiner cannot take points off because she disagrees with you. However, you must show logical basis for your opinion, drawing on both the sources AND your own knowledge and experience.

To do this, make sure you have a clear and complete thesis. Make sure the ideas expressed in the beginning of each paragraph or section support the thesis, and that you in turn show how those ideas are supported by a source or through your own knowledge and experience. Don’t generalize or write anything down that you can’t support.

Looking for AP® English Language practice?

Kickstart your AP® English Language prep with Albert. Start your AP® exam prep today .

Interested in a school license?​

Popular posts.

AP® Physics I score calculator

AP® Score Calculators

Simulate how different MCQ and FRQ scores translate into AP® scores

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

AP® Review Guides

The ultimate review guides for AP® subjects to help you plan and structure your prep.

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

Core Subject Review Guides

Review the most important topics in Physics and Algebra 1 .

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

SAT® Score Calculator

See how scores on each section impacts your overall SAT® score

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

ACT® Score Calculator

See how scores on each section impacts your overall ACT® score

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

Grammar Review Hub

Comprehensive review of grammar skills

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

AP® Posters

Download updated posters summarizing the main topics and structure for each AP® exam.

Interested in a school license?

ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

Bring Albert to your school and empower all teachers with the world's best question bank for: ➜ SAT® & ACT® ➜ AP® ➜ ELA, Math, Science, & Social Studies aligned to state standards ➜ State assessments Options for teachers, schools, and districts.

404 Not found


Find what you need to study

Synthesis Overview

10 min read • november 18, 2021

Justin Nazario

Justin Nazario

Overview of the Synthesis Question

Section II of the AP English Language and Composition exam includes three free-response questions that you must answer in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

This guide will focus on Question 1 of Section II of the exam, the Synthesis question . As with all AP exams with free-response questions, the Synthesis question has its own rubric and scoring that we will detail later in this guide. 

To summarize, however, your essay should include/ demonstrate the following:

An easy to identify thesis 

Use of three or more of the provided sources

Explain how the sources used defend the claim in a complex manner

Writing that is sophisticated and collegiate

In the sections that follow, we will go over exactly what each part means. One thing to keep in mind is that the sources you choose should only strengthen your claim-- not step in and be the claim. Avoid overly citing from the sources to the point that your voice takes the backseat.

Luckily, the same skills of sophistication and complexity translate into the other essays you’ll write for this exam. Once you have developed your own voice, the rest is a matter of organization.

As stated before, you have 2 hours and 15 minutes to answer all three of your free-response questions. It seems like a lot, but it flies. To prevent getting behind schedule, it’s important to manage your time wisely.

A good breakdown to consider when pacing yourself is the following:

10 min. (to read sources) + 5 min. (planning) + 35 min. (writing) = 50 min.

How to Rock the Synthesis Question: The Rubric

The synthesis question is scored on a six-point rubric , and each point can be earned individually. This means that you can get points in one category, but not in others. It all depends on how well you accomplish each level on the rubric .

The Synthesis Question Rubric

Your thesis is the statement of your essay that introduces your claim to the reader. This is where you come forward and explicitly say: here is my position on the argument, and here are my reasons for feeling this way. 💭Above all else, you must respond to the prompt in its entirety. 

As in most essays, the introduction is recommended to be in the opening paragraph of your essay. ☝If it’s not in the introduction, you run the risk of confusing your reader, but your thesis can be anywhere in your essay. It can be as long as you’d like, so long as you present your main ideas in the order you will be discussing them in.

In order to receive the point, you need to both answer the prompt and present your own argument and claim to said prompt. A simple way to do so is to use words from the prompt to drive your thesis forward, but avoid just restating the thesis without adding your claim . You’ll lose out on the point if you forget to weave your argument into the thesis.

Your thesis and introductory paragraph are really where you introduce your style and voice as a writer. You have the opportunity to speak to your reader-- say something. Answer the prompt in complex, rich sentences that convey your use the sources to their highest potential. 👏

A great thesis does not have to be a paragraph long: as long as it answers the prompt, you’ll be alright!

Evidence and Commentary

This section on the rubric is split up into two categories: use of sources and commentary on the sources.

The College Board requires that you use at least three of the sources in order to earn the maximum amount of points. To “use” a source, you must cite text from the source or paraphrase an idea expressed by the author of the source, and then must explain its significance to the overall claim. (More on that in a moment.)

You must also establish a line of reasoning that the sources answer and/or incorporate into your elaboration. To make it a bit simpler, you need to explain how the source proves or challenges your claim. This can be accomplished in one sentence or several-- regardless, you need to explain why you chose to use that source to prove that claim. 

The second part of this category is the commentary section. Here, you must consistently establish the line of reasoning for each of the sources you introduce and do so with complexity. In all reality, this is just making sure that you are using each source for a reason, and not just fact-dropping information to earn the point. 


An easy way to do this is by prefacing your citation with how the source relates to your argument, and then elaborating afterward.  Consider this example:

“The indoctrination of immigrants into American society is representative of a divide in American politics and culture, a line created by the two party system. (Source 2) Through the conditioning of immigrants to the ways of American society, there is a systematic erasing of native culture and ways in order to push American agendas onto people of other backgrounds and identities...”

The example drops the citation right in the middle of the paragraph in order to introduce the paraphrased idea, but divide it from the elaboration that follows:


The final row in the rubric is sophistication , or the level and complexity of your writing. This point is earned over the course of your essay and must be consistent in order for you to get the point.

This one is a little more complex to earn than some of the other points on the rubric . Contrary to the other rows, this is not something you need to directly set out to do, but something that needs to be developed over the course of your essay-- when you read a well-crafted sentence, you can tell. When you don’t read a well-crafted sentence, you can tell.

College Board has 4 notes on responses that typically earn this point:

Typically notice variations and conflicts within the sources , and explore said variations and conflicts

Express the restrictions of a source’s argument and does so within a larger scope and context

Demonstrate specific and powerful use of language so as to express professionalism and maturity

Use voice that is consistently lively yet coherent

Let’s break down each bullet.

The first bullet states is asking that your response acknowledges the difference between sources. Let’s say Source A is about how peanut butter is good for dogs but Source B says that peanut butter is actually harmful for dogs-- by expressing the counterpoints of the two sources, and discussing the broader context of the source and arguments presented in the two, you are demonstrating sophistication and can earn the point. The ‘explore’ part of the bullet is what makes or breaks it.

Make sure you don’t just drop things without explaining their significance or value!

The second bullet is relating the sources and information presented in them to both one another and the overall prompt. Ask yourself: What does this source talk about that this one doesn’t? How is the scope of this source relating to the prompt? What does this source say that this one builds off of? It’s about finding relationships between the sources and how, together, they make a set and rely on one another for validation or dejection. 👪

The third and fourth bullets are notes on your writing. The College Board wants to read essays and responses that are high quality and complex, not ones that lack development or are lackluster. They are really looking for responses that feel whole and complete, expressing entire thoughts rather than fragments of ideas that can get scattered and lost in translation. 

This mainly comes with practice and reading your peers’ work. Look for things such as sentence structure, diction, and punctuation. Do most of their sentences follow the same order and flow? Do they use the same three words to describe one thing or are they using a wide array of vocabulary? Think of how you can apply these things to your own writing, as well.

How to Rock the Synthesis Question - Process

Before you start writing....

Take time to plan your essays. If you just jump into writing without jotting down some ideas or a battle plan, you’re going to find yourself lost in the middle of your body paragraphs .


A very simple idea for planning your essay is by using a template:

Main Idea #1

Supporting Detail #1

Evidence #1

Evidence #2

Elaboration (2-3 Sentences)

Supporting Detail #2

By organizing your ideas into an umbrella shape, you can get an idea of how your essay is going to read by the progression of your ideas. Remember that the order you present your ideas in must be the order you discuss them!

Another tip is to be 100% of what it is the prompt is asking of you. If the prompt is asking you to develop an argument or position on an event or idea, do exactly that. The sources tend to lend themselves towards one side of the argument, so be sure that whatever side you pick is well-supported with evidence from the sources. You can’t use any outside knowledge or anything that is not directly stated or implied by the sources. 

As mentioned before, it is extremely useful to use words in the prompt to formulate your thesis.

For example, if the prompt asks you what a country needs to consider before it engages in war with another country, you could formulate your thesis by saying “prior to engaging in war with another country, one must consider…” in order to directly respond to the question. This avoids confusion and allows you to easily pinpoint, for yourself, your thesis.

Think of all of Section 2 as a speech– this is the only section of the exam where you get to speak to the scorers. They are reading your handwriting, seeing your words and erase marks: make an impression! They are scored by a rubric , but they are also looking for voice and sophistication . Don’t brush off these essays and give minimal effort, they want you to pass.

Writing the Essay

Your introductory paragraph should realistically comprise of your thesis and introduce your response to the prompt. Your introduction can be just one sentence with your thesis, or you can build context by prefacing your argument or claim with things you learned from the sources. Avoid using “I”. 

Your body paragraphs should be where you spend most of your time writing. Remember what the rubric says about relationships and connections between the sources. Look for key similarities and differences that may lend you to choose a main idea from the set. They all have something in common!

After you have an idea of your main points, start with a topic sentence that is essentially a thesis for the paragraph. Explain what you’re going to discuss and how it relates back to the prompt (or broader context, if applicable).

After introducing your topic sentence , begin using your evidence and elaborating in complete, complex sentences. If you planned your essay well enough, you may even be able to just copy what you have written down and just spend time elaborating on the sources. This maximizes your time and gives you some space to develop an even more complex argument . 2-3 sentences of elaboration is the sweet spot if you cover all your bases.

After you’ve done the steps above, do the same for the next body paragraph.

Once you reach your conclusion , state for the final time your thesis and the points you mentioned in your body paragraphs . Someone should be able to read your conclusion and get a good idea of what it is you discussed in your response, so make it informative and a good representation of your work!

And once you’ve reached this point, you’re all done! Give your essay a read and fix any mechanical or grammatical issues that you may stumble upon. After that, move on to the next essay and keep your head high-- you’re one step closer to finishing the exam! ✋

Key Terms to Review ( 20 )

Body Paragraphs

Collegiate writing

Complex argument

Defensible position

Direct response to the prompt

Introductory paragraph

Line of Reasoning

Lively voice

Main Idea and Supporting Details

Planning your essay

Powerful use of language

Restrictions of a source's argument

Synthesis question

Time management

Topic Sentence

Variations and conflicts within the sources


Stay Connected

© 2024 Fiveable Inc. All rights reserved.

AP® and SAT® are trademarks registered by the College Board, which is not affiliated with, and does not endorse this website.

Synthesis Essay Writing

Synthesis Essay Examples

Barbara P

13+ Winning Synthesis Essay Examples For Your Inspiration

Synthesis Essay Example

People also read

Learn How to Write a Synthesis Essay Step by Step

Best Synthesis Essay Topics and Prompt Ideas

Synthesis Essay Outline - Template and Examples

Are you struggling to make sense of synthesis essays, unsure where to begin, or how to enhance your writing?

Many students face the challenge of feeling overwhelmed when trying to blend diverse ideas and sources seamlessly. It can be challenging to create a cohesive piece that draws from various perspectives.

But fear not! 

In this blog, we will provide you with winning synthesis essay examples and valuable insights to enhance your essay writing skills.

So, let’s get started. 

Arrow Down

  • 1. Understanding What A Synthesis Essay Is
  • 2. Synthesis Essay Examples
  • 3. Synthesis Essay Topics - Examples
  • 4. Tips for Writing an Effective Synthesis Essay

Understanding What A Synthesis Essay Is

A synthesis essay is a special kind of academic writing where writers blend ideas and information from various sources to create a clear and organized argument.

Unlike other types of essays , a synthesis essay demands the integration of various perspectives to form a new understanding or insight. 

It involves critically examining different sources, and synthesizing them to develop a comprehensive viewpoint on a particular topic. 

Looking at synthesis essay examples can really help you write a great essay. Here's an example of a synthesis essay to inspire you in your own writing:

Synthesis Essay Outline Example

An outline is just like a table of content sections on a page. It consists of categories and subcategories of a given topic that the writer plans to cover in the essay. Below is a synthesis essay outline template that explains the synthesis essay outline in detail. Have a look at it.

Thesis For Synthesis Essay Example

Order Essay

Tough Essay Due? Hire Tough Writers!

How to Write a Synthesis Essay - Example

In order to write a good synthesis paper, you need to follow the format and proper procedure. The synthesis essay has an introduction paragraph, three body paragraphs with supportive evidence to back up the topic, and a thesis statement.

And a conclusion paragraph where you answer all the questions while referring back to the main thesis.

Check out this sample template; it will help you learn the basics of synthesis essay structure. 

AP English Language and Composition Synthesis Essay Example

The ap lang synthesis essay requires students to analyze information from various sources to discuss the topic of their essay. Refer to the sample AP language synthesis essay to learn how you can write a perfect synthesis essay.

Synthesis Essay Example Ap Lang

2022 Ap Lang Synthesis Essay Example

Synthesis Essay Examples for Different Formats

Knowing how to write synthesis essays in different styles is important. Given below are some examples of synthesis essays in different formats.

APA Format Synthesis Essay Example

APA (American Psychological Association) is a citation style that provides formatting conventions for student and professional papers. Below is a sample example of an APA-style synthesis essay.

MLA Format Synthesis Essay Example

MLA (Modern Language Association) is another referencing style that allows us to cite the sources in a proper format. Here is an MLA-style synthesis essay example to help you learn the basics of this style.

Different Types of Synthesis Essay Examples

Synthesis essays come in various types, each requiring a unique approach. Explore the following synthesis essay examples tailored to different types, offering a comprehensive overview of how to tackle diverse writing tasks:

College Synthesis Essay Example

This sample PDF is to help the college students to learn the outline, format, and structure of the synthesis essay. You can easily download it and save it with you for further usage.

Explanatory Synthesis Essay Example

The explanatory synthesis is intended to explain a particular subject in detail to make it easy to understand for people. Refer to the sample essay given below and see what makes it different from a simple synthesis essay.

Argumentative Synthesis Essay Example

The argumentative synthesis is another type of synthesis essay that is intended to present an argument. The writer presents his claim and supports it with facts and evidence to prove it right. Check out the sample essay given below to understand how it is different from a general argumentative essay.

Eminent Domain Synthesis Essay Example

An eminent domain synthesis essay explores the concept of eminent domain, which is the government's authority to take private property for public use. This type of synthesis essay delves into various aspects of eminent domain, considering legal, ethical, and social perspectives. 

Here’s an example:

Synthesis Essay Example About Social Media

This type of synthesis essay explores the impact of social media on individuals and society. It aims to analyze and synthesize information to construct a well-rounded understanding of the role of social media in our lives. Here’s an example of it:

Synthesis Essay Topics - Examples

Choosing a compelling topic is crucial when writing a synthesis essay. Here are some thought-provoking synthesis essay topics that can inspire your writing:

  • The Impact of Technology on Human Interaction
  • Climate Change and Global Sustainability
  • The Role of Social Media in Modern Society
  • The Intersection of Artificial Intelligence and Ethics
  • Education Reform: Challenges and Opportunities
  • Impact of Social Movements on Policy Change
  • Healthcare Access: A Global Perspective
  • Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
  • The Influence of Literature on Society
  • The Future of Work: Remote vs. Traditional

Looking for more topics? Check out this blog on synthesis essay topics for inspiration.

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That's our Job!

Tips for Writing an Effective Synthesis Essay

Crafting a compelling synthesis essay goes beyond the writing process; it requires strategic planning and meticulous execution. Here are key tips to ensure your synthesis essay stands out:

  • Select Credible Sources

Begin by choosing reliable and credible sources. Ensure that the information you gather is from reputable authors, organizations, or publications to strengthen the foundation of your essay.

  • Background Information is Key

Provide sufficient background information on your chosen topic. Help your readers understand the context and significance of the subject matter before delving into your argument.

  • Develop a Coherent Argument

Focus on building a clear and coherent argument throughout your essay. Ensure that each paragraph contributes to the overall flow and supports your thesis effectively.

  • Support Your with Evidence

A strong synthesis essay requires a well-supported argument. Back up your claims with evidence from your chosen sources, demonstrating a thorough understanding of the topic.

  • Utilize Sources to Support Each Other

Instead of treating sources in isolation, highlight their relationships. Demonstrate how each source complements or contrasts with others, emphasizing the interconnectedness of your information.

  • Synthesis Essay Requires Critical Analysis

Go beyond summarizing your sources; engage in critical analysis. Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each source and consider their implications for your argument.

  • Ensure a Supported Argument:

Throughout your essay, consistently reinforce your central argument. Every piece of information should contribute to and reinforce the main thesis, creating a cohesive and persuasive narrative.

In conclusion, tackling synthesis essays is easier than it seems when armed with the right knowledge. Use the tips and examples provided to boost your skills and approach these essays with confidence.

But if you ever feel stuck, MyPerfectWords.com is here to help. Our team of experts can guide you through the process, ensuring your essays not only meet standards but stand out for their clarity and depth.

Ready to elevate your writing? Hire our essay writing service today!

AI Essay Bot

Write Essay Within 60 Seconds!

Barbara P

Dr. Barbara is a highly experienced writer and author who holds a Ph.D. degree in public health from an Ivy League school. She has worked in the medical field for many years, conducting extensive research on various health topics. Her writing has been featured in several top-tier publications.

Get Help

Paper Due? Why Suffer? That’s our Job!

Keep reading

Synthesis Essay

Calculate for all schools

Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, synthesis essay format ap lang.

Hey everyone! I'm working on my AP Lang class and I'm a bit confused about the proper format for a synthesis essay. Do you have any tips or suggestions on structuring it to meet the requirements? Thanks in advance!

Hello! A synthesis essay in AP Language and Composition requires you to analyze multiple sources and develop your own argument based on the information provided. Here's a general outline to help you structure your synthesis essay:

1. Introduction

- Start with a hook to grab your reader's attention.

- Briefly introduce the topic and provide context for understanding the issue.

- Summarize the main points from the sources you will use in your essay.

- Present your thesis statement, which should clearly state your position on the topic and mention the main reasons supporting your argument.

2. Body Paragraphs

- Each body paragraph should focus on one main reason that supports your thesis.

- Start each paragraph with a clear topic sentence.

- Use evidence from your sources to support your argument. Be sure to provide citations (using the appropriate citation format) to acknowledge the original source of the information.

- Analyze the evidence to explain how it supports your main reason. Discuss the implications or significance of the evidence in relation to the overall topic.

- Show the relationships between sources, identifying any areas of agreement, disagreement, or trends.

- If applicable, include counterarguments and address them by providing evidence that refutes those opposing perspectives. Don't forget to acknowledge the counterargument's source.

- Transition smoothly between paragraphs to maintain the flow of your essay.

3. Conclusion

- Restate your thesis statement in a new, concise way, focusing on the main points you've made in your essay.

- Summarize the key arguments you made in your body paragraphs.

- End with a thought-provoking statement or call to action, providing a sense of closure to your essay.

Remember to use clear language, maintain a consistent point of view, and demonstrate an understanding of the complexities and nuances of your topic. Additionally, it's essential to proofread your essay for grammar and punctuation errors to ensure clarity and readability.

Good luck with your synthesis essay—hopefully, this outline helps clarify the structure and requirements for an AP Lang synthesis essay!

About CollegeVine’s Expert FAQ

CollegeVine’s Q&A seeks to offer informed perspectives on commonly asked admissions questions. Every answer is refined and validated by our team of admissions experts to ensure it resonates with trusted knowledge in the field.

How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay (With Example)

December 14, 2023

ap lang argument essay example

We’d like to let you in on a little secret: no one, including us, enjoys writing timed essays. But a little practice goes a long way. If you want to head into your AP English Exam with a cool head, you’ll want to know what you’re getting into ahead of time. We can’t promise the AP Lang Argument Essay will ever feel like an island vacation, but we do have tons of hand tips and tricks (plus a sample essay!) below to help you do your best. This article will cover: 1) What is the AP Lang Argumentative Essay? 2) AP Lang Argument Rubric 3) AP Lang Argument Sample Prompt 4) AP Lang Argument Essay Example 5) AP Lang Argument Essay Example: Answer Breakdown.

What is the AP Lang Argument Essay?

The AP Lang Argument Essay is one of three essays included in the written portion of the AP English Exam. The full AP English Exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long, with the first 60 minutes dedicated to multiple-choice questions. Once you complete the multiple-choice section, you move on to three equally weighted essays that ask you to synthesize, analyze, and interpret texts and develop well-reasoned arguments. The three essays include:

Synthesis essay: You’ll review various pieces of evidence and then write an essay that synthesizes (aka combines and interprets) the evidence and presents a clear argument. Read our write-up on How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay here.

Argumentative essay: You’ll take a stance on a specific topic and argue your case.

Rhetorical essay: You’ll read a provided passage, then analyze the author’s rhetorical choices and develop an argument that explains why the author made those rhetorical choices. Read our write-up on How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Essay here.

AP Lang Argument Essay Rubric

The AP Lang Argument Essay is graded on 3 rubric categories : Thesis, Evidence and Commentary, and Sophistication . How can you make sure you cover all three bases in your essay? We’ll break down each rubric category with dos and don’ts below:

  • Thesis (0-1 point)

When it comes to grading your thesis, AP Exam graders are checking off a box: you either have a clear thesis or you don’t. So, what crucial components of a thesis will get you your check mark?

  • Make sure your thesis argues something . To satisfy your graders, your thesis needs to take a clear stance on the issue at hand.
  • Include your thesis statement in your intro paragraph. The AP Lang Argumentative essay is just that: an essay that makes an argument, so make sure you present your argument right away at the end of your first paragraph.
  • A good test to see if you have a thesis that makes an argument for your AP Lang Argumentative Essay: In your head, add the phrase “I agree/disagree that…” to the beginning of your thesis. If what follows doesn’t logically flow after that phrase (aka if what follows isn’t an agreement or disagreement), it’s likely you’re not making an argument.
  • In your thesis, outline the evidence you’ll cover in your body paragraphs.

AP Lang Argument Essay Rubric (Continued)

  • Avoid a thesis that merely restates the prompt.
  • Avoid a thesis that summarizes the text but does not make an argument.
  • Avoid a thesis that weighs the pros and cons of an issue. Your job in your thesis is to pick a side and stick with it.
  • Evidence and Commentary (0-4 points)

This rubric category is graded on a scale of 0-4 where 4 is the highest grade. Unlike the rhetorical and synthesis essays, the evidence you need to write your AP Lang Argument Essay is not provided to you. Rather, you’ll need to generate your own evidence and comment upon it.

What counts as evidence?

Typically, the AP Lang Argument Essay prompt asks you to reflect on a broad cultural, moral, or social issue that is open to debate. For evidence, you won’t be asked to memorize and cite statistics or facts. Rather, you’ll want to bring in real-world examples of:

  • Historical events
  • Current-day events from the news
  • Personal anecdotes

For this essay, your graders know that you’re not able to do research to find the perfect evidence. What’s most important is that you find evidence that logically supports your argument.

What is commentary?

In this essay, it’s important to do more than just provide examples relevant evidence. After each piece of evidence you include, you’ll need to explain why it’s significant and how it connects to your main argument. The analysis you include after your evidence is commentary .

  • Take a minute to brainstorm evidence that logically supports your argument. If you have to go out of your way to find the connection, it’s better to think of different evidence.
  • Include multiple pieces of evidence. There is no magic number, but do make sure you incorporate more than a couple pieces of evidence that support your argument.
  • Make sure you include more than one example of evidence, too. Let’s say you’re working on an essay that argues that people are always stronger together than apart. You’ve already included an example from history: during the civil rights era, protestors staged group sit-ins as a powerful form of peaceful protest. That’s just one example, and it’s hard to make a credible argument with just one piece of evidence. To fix that issue, think of additional examples from history, current events, or personal experience that are not related to the civil rights era.
  • After you include each piece of evidence, explain why it’s significant and how it connects to your main argument.
  • Don’t summarize or speak generally about the topic. Everything you write must be backed up with specific and relevant evidence and examples.
  • Don’t let quotes speak for themselves. After every piece of evidence you include, make sure to explain and connect the evidence to your overarching argument.

AP Lang Argument Essay (Continued)

  • Sophistication (0-1 point)

According to the College Board , one point can be awarded to AP Lang Argument essays that achieve a high level of sophistication. You can accomplish that in four ways:

  • Crafting a nuanced argument by consistently identifying and exploring complexities or tensions.
  • Articulating the implications or limitations of an argument by situating it within a broader context.
  • Making effective rhetorical choices that consistently strengthen the force and impact of the student’s argument.
  • Employing a style that is consistently vivid and persuasive.

In sum, this means you can earn an additional point for going above and beyond in depth, complexity of thought, or by writing an especially persuasive, clear, and well-structured essay. In order to earn this point, you’ll first need to do a good job with the fundamentals: your thesis, evidence, and commentary. Then, to earn your sophistication point, follow these tips:

  • Outline your essay before you begin to ensure it flows in a clear and cohesive way.
  • Include well-rounded evidence. Don’t rely entirely on personal anecdotes, for example. Incorporate examples from current events or history, as well.
  • Thoroughly explain how each piece of evidence connects to your thesis in order to fully develop your argument.
  • Explore broader implications. If what you’re arguing is true, what does that mean to us today? Who is impacted by this issue? What real-world issues are relevant to this core issue?
  • Briefly explore the other side of the issue. Are the instances where your argument might not be true? Acknowledge the other side, then return to proving your original argument.
  • Steer clear of generalizations (avoid words like “always” and “everyone”).
  • Don’t choose an argument you can’t back up with relevant examples.
  • Avoid complex sentences and fancy vocabulary words unless you use them often. Long, clunky sentences with imprecisely used words are hard to follow.

AP Lang Argument Sample Prompt

The sample prompt below is published online by the College Board and is a real example from the 2021 AP English Exam. The prompt provides background context, essay instructions, and the text you need to analyze.

Suggested time—40 minutes.

Many people spend long hours trying to achieve perfection in their personal or professional lives. Similarly, people often demand perfection from others, creating expectations that may be challenging to live up to. In contrast, some people think perfection is not attainable or desirable.

Write an essay that argues your position on the value of striving for perfection.

In your response you should do the following:

  • Respond to the prompt with a thesis that presents a defensible position.
  • Provide evidence to support your line of reasoning.
  • Explain how the evidence supports your line of reasoning.
  • Use appropriate grammar and punctuation in communicating your argument.

AP Lang Argument Essay Example

As the old phrase says, “Practice makes perfect.” But is perfection something that is actually attainable? Sometimes, pushing for perfection helps us achieve great things, but most often, perfectionism puts too much pressure on us and prevents us from knowing when we have done the best we can. Striving for perfection can only lead us to shortchange ourselves. Instead, we should value learning, growth, and creativity and not worry whether we are first or fifth best.

Students often feel the need to be perfect in their classes, and this can cause students to struggle or stop making an effort in class. In elementary and middle school, for example, I was very nervous about public speaking. When I had to give a speech, my voice would shake, and I would turn very red. My teachers always told me “relax!” and I got Bs on Cs on my speeches. As a result, I put more pressure on myself to do well, spending extra time making my speeches perfect and rehearsing late at night at home. But this pressure only made me more nervous, and I started getting stomach aches before speaking in public.

Once I got to high school, however, I started doing YouTube make-up tutorials with a friend. We made videos just for fun, and laughed when we made mistakes or said something silly. Only then, when I wasn’t striving to be perfect, did I get more comfortable with public speaking.

AP Lang Argumentative Essay Example (Continued)

In the world of art and business and science, perfectionism can also limit what we are able to achieve. Artists, for example, have to take risks and leave room for creativity. If artists strive for perfection, then they won’t be willing to fail at new experiments and their work will be less innovative and interesting. In business and science, many products, like penicillin for example, were discovered by accident. If the scientist who discovered penicillin mold growing on his petri dishes had gotten angry at his mistake and thrown the dishes away, he would never have discovered a medicine that is vital to us today.

Some fields do need to value perfection. We wouldn’t like it, for example, if our surgeon wasn’t striving for perfection during our operation. However, for most of us, perfectionism can limit our potential for learning and growth. Instead of trying to be perfect, we should strive to learn, innovate, and do our personal best.

AP Lang Argument Essay Example: Answer Breakdown

The sample AP Lang Argumentative Essay above has some strengths and some weaknesses. Overall, we would give this essay a 3 or a 4. Let’s break down what’s working and what could be improved:

  • The essay offers a thesis that makes a clear argument that is relevant to the prompt: “Striving for perfection can only lead us to shortchange ourselves. Instead, we should value learning, growth, and creativity and not worry whether we are first or fifth best.”
  • The first body paragraph provides evidence that supports the essay’s thesis. This student’s personal anecdote offers an example of a time when perfectionism led them to shortchange themselves.
  • The second body paragraph provides additional evidence that supports the essay’s thesis. The example describing the discovery of penicillin offers another example of a situation in which perfectionism might have limited scientific progress.
  • The writer offers commentary explaining how her examples of public speaking and penicillin illustrate that we should “value learning, growth, and creativity” over perfectionism.
  • The essay follows one line of reasoning and does not stray into tangents.
  • The essay is organized well with intro, body, and concluding paragraphs. Overall, it is easy to read and is free of grammar errors.

What could be improved:

  • Although the second body paragraph provides one good specific example about the discovery of penicillin, the other examples it offers about art and business are only discussed generally and aren’t backed up with evidence. This paragraph would be stronger if it provided more examples. Or, if this writer couldn’t think of examples, they could have left out mentions of art and business altogether and included alternate evidence instead.
  • This writer would more thoroughly support their argument if they were able to offer one more example of evidence. They could provide another personal anecdote, an example from history, or an example from current events.
  • The writer briefly mentions the other side of the argument in their concluding paragraph: “Some fields do need to value perfection. We wouldn’t like it, for example, if our surgeon wasn’t striving for perfection during our operation.” Since it’s so brief a mention of the other side, it undermines the writer’s overall argument. This writer should either dedicate more time to reflecting on why even surgeons should “value learning, growth, and creativity” over perfectionism, or they should leave these sentences out.

AP Lang Argument Essay Example—More Resources

Looking for more tips to help you master your AP Lang Argumentative Essay? Brush up on 20 Rhetorical Devices High School Students Should Know and read our Tips for Improving Reading Comprehension .

If you’re ready to start studying for another part of the AP English Exam, find more expert tips in our How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis and How to Write the AP Lang Rhetorical Essay blog posts.

  • High School Success

' src=

Christina Wood

Christina Wood holds a BA in Literature & Writing from UC San Diego, an MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis, and is currently a Doctoral Candidate in English at the University of Georgia, where she teaches creative writing and first-year composition courses. Christina has published fiction and nonfiction in numerous publications, including The Paris Review , McSweeney’s , Granta , Virginia Quarterly Review , The Sewanee Review , Mississippi Review , and Puerto del Sol , among others. Her story “The Astronaut” won the 2018 Shirley Jackson Award for short fiction and received a “Distinguished Stories” mention in the 2019 Best American Short Stories anthology.

  • 2-Year Colleges
  • Application Strategies
  • Best Colleges by Major
  • Best Colleges by State
  • Big Picture
  • Career & Personality Assessment
  • College Essay
  • College Search/Knowledge
  • College Success
  • Costs & Financial Aid
  • Dental School Admissions
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • Graduate School Admissions
  • High Schools
  • Law School Admissions
  • Medical School Admissions
  • Navigating the Admissions Process
  • Online Learning
  • Private High School Spotlight
  • Summer Program Spotlight
  • Summer Programs
  • Test Prep Provider Spotlight

College Transitions Sidebar Block Image

“Innovative and invaluable…use this book as your college lifeline.”

— Lynn O'Shaughnessy

Nationally Recognized College Expert

College Planning in Your Inbox

Join our information-packed monthly newsletter.

I am a... Student Student Parent Counselor Educator Other First Name Last Name Email Address Zip Code Area of Interest Business Computer Science Engineering Fine/Performing Arts Humanities Mathematics STEM Pre-Med Psychology Social Studies/Sciences Submit


  1. How To Write A Good Ap English Synthesis Essay

    ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

  2. AmStud

    ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

  3. How to write a good synthesis essay ap lang

    ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

  4. How To Write A Perfect Synthesis Essay Outline W/Examples

    ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

  5. Sample ap lang synthesis essay prompt in 2021

    ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example

  6. How To Write An Ap English Synthesis Essay

    ap lang synthesis essay perfect score example


  1. Synthesis Activities

  2. Do I Need to Read All the Synthesis Sources? #aplang

  3. How to write a Synthesis Essay

  4. Synthesis Annotation Tips #aplang

  5. The Design of Perfect Society

  6. The SECRET to Writing COMPLEX Thesis Statements


  1. How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay + Example

    The second section contains three free-response questions to be finished in under two hours and 15 minutes. This section counts for 55% of your score and includes the synthesis essay, the rhetorical essay, and the argumentative essay. The synthesis essay requires you to read 6-7 sources and create an argument using at least three sources.

  2. How to Write a Perfect Synthesis Essay for the AP Language Exam

    If you're planning to take the AP Language (or AP Lang) exam, you might already know that 55% of your overall exam score will be based on three essays.The first of the three essays you'll have to write on the AP Language exam is called the "synthesis essay." If you want to earn full points on this portion of the AP Lang Exam, you need to know what a synthesis essay is and what skills are ...

  3. Synthesis Essay Materials

    The two synthesis essay questions below are examples of the question type that has been one of the three free-response questions on the AP English Language and Composition Exam as of the May 2007 exam. The synthesis question asks students to synthesize information from a variety of sources to inform their own discussion of a topic. Students are given a 15-minute reading period to accommodate ...

  4. AP English Language and Composition Past Exam Questions

    Download free-response questions from past exams along with scoring guidelines, sample responses from exam takers, and scoring distributions. If you are using assistive technology and need help accessing these PDFs in another format, contact Services for Students with Disabilities at 212-713-8333 or by email at [email protected]. Note ...

  5. How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay with Example

    Understanding how these devices function can be essential in constructing a cohesive essay. Synthesis Essay AP Lang Examples - Sample Question . Below is a sample question from the AP Lang synthesis essay and a response to the prompt. This question was taken directly from a 2022 exam. However, the response to the question will be originally ...

  6. PDF AP English Language and Composition

    Focus on the importance of specific words and details from the sources to build an argument. Organize an argument as a line of reasoning composed of multiple supporting claims. Commentary may fail to integrate some evidence or fail to support a key claim. Typical responses that earn 4 points:

  7. PDF Sample Scoring Guidelines

    9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for essays that are scored an 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument and synthesis of cited sources, or impressive in their control of language. 8 Effective Essays earning a score of 8 effectively take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim that

  8. How to Write a Synthesis Essay AP Lang

    Typically, a good AP Lang synthesis essay will have around 3-4 well-constructed and reasoned body paragraphs, but this is just a general guideline. Conclusion Paragraph. Restate your THESIS statement in a new and interesting way (that is, do not simply repeat your thesis word-for-word as it appears in the introduction!).

  9. How to Write the AP Lang Synthesis Essay + Essay Template

    The use of rhetorical devices AP Lang is also pretty important. So once you flesh out your essay a bit, spend some time trying to come up with the perfect wording. Step 5. Finalize. The first finished version of your essay is a draft. Don't be hasty to turn it in. Read over it a couple of times.

  10. Acing the AP® English Language and Composition Synthesis Essay

    Last Updated On: March 1, 2022. The newest section of the AP® English Language and Composition Exam, the synthesis essay, is one of three essays you will be completing during the examination's 2-hour free-response period. However, you'll also have a 15-minute reading and planning period just for this essay, and if you use this time to plan ...

  11. How to Write a Perfect Synthesis Essay for the AP Language Exam

    If you're planning to take the AP Language (or AP Lang) exam, you might already know that 55% of insert overall exam score will be based on three-way essays.The first of the three papers you'll have to write on the AP Language exam is called the "synthesis essay." If you want to earn full points on this portion of the AP Lang Exam, you need to know what a synthesis essay is and what skills are ...

  12. AP English Language Exam Practice: Synthesis Study Plan

    Resources you need to improve your Synthesis essay on the AP English Language and Composition exam. Includes revelant readings and practice problems. Note: For best results, click to highlight and copy/paste this list into your Fiveable Rooms Task Card to automatically create individual tasks. Jumpstart your studying in 5 seconds!

  13. AP Lang Synthesis Overview [video]

    AP English Language. Exam Skills. Synthesis Overview . Synthesis Overview . february 25, 2020. ... Resources. 📑 Summary ⏳ Timestamps 📚 Resources. Learn what synthesis is, how to get a perfect score on the synthesis essay, and read through some samples to explore what students did well. All Subjects. AP English Language. Exam Skills ...

  14. How to Write a Perfect Synthesis Essay for the AP Language Exam / AP

    In this article, we'll explain the different aspects of the APO Lang synthesis essay, included what skills you need to demos in your synthesis seek response in order in achieve a good score. We'll also give you a full breakdown of a real APPLE Lang Amalgamation Essay ask, provide an analysis of and AP Lang synthesis essay example, and give you ...

  15. AP Lang

    Section II of the AP English Language and Composition exam includes three free-response questions that you must answer in 2 hours and 15 minutes. This guide will focus on Question 1 of Section II of the exam, the. Synthesis question. As with all AP exams with free-response questions, the. Synthesis question.


    AP English Language and Composition Question 1: Synthesis (2019) Sample Student Responses. 1. The student responses in this packet were selected from the 2019 Reading and have been rescored using the new rubrics for 2020. Commentaries for each sample are provided in a separate document.

  17. PDF AP English Language and Composition Question 1: Synthesis 2020 Scoring

    AP English Language and Composition Question 1: Synthesis 2020 Scoring Commentaries (Applied to 2018 Student Responses) 2 September 2019 Sample I 6/6 Points (A1 - B4 - C1) Row A: 1/1 The response earned a point for Row A because it presents a thoughtful, multi-sentence thesis that indicates a clear position and establishes a line of reasoning.

  18. 13+ Synthesis Essay Examples: Tips & Expert Guidance

    AP English Language and Composition Synthesis Essay Example. The ap lang synthesis essay requires students to analyze information from various sources to discuss the topic of their essay. Refer to the sample AP language synthesis essay to learn how you can write a perfect synthesis essay.

  19. Synthesis essay format AP Lang

    Hello! A synthesis essay in AP Language and Composition requires you to analyze multiple sources and develop your own argument based on the information provided. Here's a general outline to help you structure your synthesis essay: 1. Introduction - Start with a hook to grab your reader's attention. - Briefly introduce the topic and provide context for understanding the issue.

  20. How to Write the AP Lang Argument Essay (With Example)

    Her story "The Astronaut" won the 2018 Shirley Jackson Award for short fiction and received a "Distinguished Stories" mention in the 2019 Best American Short Stories anthology. Ap Lang Argumentative Essay - Expert advice on how to pen a winning essay + an AP Lang argument essay example to guide your writing.